Lamprey-mouthed vocalist and legendary boozer Shane MacGowan first cut his teeth in punk band the Nips before packing up his DIY bags and moving on to Celtic rock with the Pogues. It was a daring move that has produced some of the most original-sounding music of the post-punk era. Red Roses for Me heralded the arrival of a band brashly defying convention simply by adhering to tradition. As a permeable ensemble of a half-dozen or more players, they were able to incorporate traditional instruments hitherto unheard of in rock 'n' roll. Mandolins, concertina, tin whistle, the dulcimer and the bodhran gave the Pogues their distinctly Irish sound, and in Shane MacGowan the band possessed an ace writer fitting squarely into the Irish literary heritage. Songs like "The Old Main Drag," "A Pair of Brown Eyes" and "Hell's Ditch" indicate that, had he been so inclined, MacGowan might have written books to put on the shelf with Flann O'Brien, Brendan Behan and the Joyce of Finnegan's Wake. Not many bands could wear the hoary epaulets of the label "National Treasure" and pull it off, but the Pogues were such a band.